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I looked up moving companies and found dozens - where do you start? And what do I need to be worried about as far as getting estimates and not getting gouged on the price? The internet is full of moving horror stories, and I'm not sure how much to believe.

Ah - There are a number of ways to approach this -

One easy thing is to go to the local BBB website and check on moving companies. Bare in mind that there are always going to be complaints, but there are some companies that have dozens. Avoid those like the plague.

I don't put much store in websites like Citysearch, because it's way too easy for a company owner to put their own fake recommendations on it.

As far as estimates go, get at least 3 - maybe more. Make sure that the companies you talk to are members of the AMSA (American Moving and Storage Assoc). You should also ask for Proof of Insurance.

When getting estimates, you will probably get different results depending on whether you have a small apartment, or something larger. A lot of companies won't do an on-site estimate for small moves. But - for any long distance move, you really need to get an on-site, so insist on it.

Also insist on a GUARANTEED ESTIMATE. I can't stress that enough. Basically this means that the moving company is going to charge you X dollars for your job, and that's all. If the company doesn't want to give you one, show them the door.

And definitely get Full Value Protection. That means that your stuff is protected at $4/lb, which is pretty good for most items. Otherwise you'll get $.60/lb, which is pretty worthless.

Ask for references - Any reputable company should be able to supply you with some sort of list of previous customers. Make sure they are recent, and not just some junk they've typed up themselves. My company gave each customer a survey sheet, and we also asked people if we could have potential customers call them for a reference. Most of them said yes.

If things should go bad (say the guy parks his truck in your driveway, and wants to charge you an extra $500 for some BS issue), call the police immediately. Don't even bother arguing. Usually if the guy knows the cops are coming, he will shape up pretty quickly. If things do go bad, even if they get resolved, call the AMSA and report the issue. Also call the BBB.

If you have any other specific questions, feel free to drop me a line...

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